Help support Refugee Week 2024

Words Refugee week alongside coloured dots

As Refugee Week 2024 approaches, North Devon Council and the Pickwell Foundation are urging individuals, community groups and businesses to support the festival alongside them. 

Refugee Week, taking place this year between Monday 17 and Sunday 23 June, is the world’s largest arts and culture festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary. Established in 1998 in the UK, this annual festival aligns with World Refugee Day, celebrated globally on 20 June. 

The theme for this year's festival is "Our Home". Organisers say "From the places we gather to share meals to our collective home, planet earth: everyone is invited to celebrate what our Our Home means to them." Supported by the council, Pickwell is organising a number of events based around the theme, including the following confirmed activities, with more in the pipeline:

  • Saturday 15 June - Ilfracombe Library Event -  Crafts and Book reading
  • Tuesday 18 June - Launch of Exhibition and Information Stand at Barnstaple Pannier Market
  • Tuesday 18 June - Barnstaple Library Event with DCC, Sunrise and Works Club - Crafts and Book reading.
  • Wednesday 19 June - Exhibition and Information Stand Pannier Market
  • Wednesday 19 June - Petroc Liberty Cafe, session for resettled families.
  • Thursday 20 June - Exhibition and Information Stand Pannier Market
  • Friday 21 June - Exhibition and Information Stand Pannier Market
  • Saturday 22 June - Community Led Welcome Event at Barnstaple Pannier Market

North Devon has become home to a number of refugees, including refugees escaping war in Ukraine and Afghans who have previously worked with the British armed forces. Both Pickwell and the council are encouraging the community to extend their warmth and hospitality to these individuals and families by holding events to mark Refugee Week, or just carrying out simple acts like having a chat, walking together, or sending a message of welcome to help refugees feel like they belong. 

Head of Housing at North Devon Council, Nina Lake said: "I am heartened by the warm embrace our community have extended to Ukrainian refugees fleeing conflict in their home country over the past two years, and more recently to Afghan families who bravely served alongside the British armed forces. Refugee Week 2024 is an opportunity for us to reaffirm our commitment to compassion and solidarity. Let's come together in North Devon to hold events marking the week - or simply carry out simple acts of kindness to welcome those who have been displaced. By doing so, we can share "Our Home" and show the true spirit of humanity.

Communications and Events Lead, Nicola Jenner said: "We're excited to start sharing our plans for this year's Refugee Week, which will serve to honour the contributions, creativity, and resilience of the individuals who've sought sanctuary in our local towns and villages. We will be sharing incredible examples of community-led welcome and how you can plant the seeds in #OurHome to make the community of northern Devon an even more compassionate place. 

"If you would like to get involved during the day, please reach out. We’re looking for face painters and other craft activities to make this a fun and interactive event. This event is free, and community led, so your time and contributions will be donated." 

Organisers of Refugee Week encourage those who are helping to support the festival use the hashtags  #RefugeeWeek #SimpleActs #TogetherWithRefugees.

The Pickwell Foundation works locally in Devon to provide support to refugees and asylum seekers through a number of schemes including refugee resettlement through the Community Sponsorship Scheme, support for Ukrainians and their sponsors in North Devon and Torridge via the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, and support to Afghan families relocating to North Devon under the ARAP scheme. More information about their work is available on Pickwell's website and further details about events being held during Refugee Week will be posted on their Facebook page.

Anyone who would like to enquire about taking part in Refugee Week can email

More information on taking part in Refugee Week 2024, including an event organiser pack, is available on the Refugee Week website